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Ukraine demands to deprive Russian saber fencer of neutral status

Jul 31, 2023

The Ukrainian Fencing Federation has appealed to the International Fencing Federation (FIE) to remove Russian saber fencer Anna Smirnova from the list of neutral athletes because she does not meet this status and to immediately suspend her from participating in competitions under the auspices of the FIE.

"Anna Smirnova's activity on Instagram, where she openly demonstrates verbal and non-verbal support for the Russian army, which is a symbol and implementer of aggression against Ukraine, shows that she is by no means a neutral athlete and has never been one," the Federation said in a statement.

It is noted that this is not the first time that the list of neutral athletes includes persons who "act contrary to the peacekeeping mission of the Olympic movement, demonstrating open and active support for the criminal genocide of Russian army soldiers on Ukrainian soil."

"On June 14, 2023, the FFU already sent an appeal to the FIE with relevant evidence regarding another Russian fencer, Valeria Kobzeva, who was eventually stripped of her neutral status. We insist that the FIE Executive Committee revise the process of granting neutral status and make it more efficient and transparent for all FIE members," the Ukrainian Fencing Federation said.

Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 31/07/2023

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